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19th December 2022

Enola Holmes 2 review: Family film misses its mark

The sequel to the much-loved family detective film is back and here’s what The Mancunion have to say about it
Photo: Imogen Mingos

Detective films are perfect for the winter season, especially if you’re looking for something fun and easy to take your mind off those end-of-year assignments. So far See How They Run is now available on Disney +, Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery hit the cinema for a one-week-only screening, and now to complete the trinity we have Enola Holmes 2 on Netflix.

Millie Bobby Brown is back with the sequel to her family-friendly mystery movie as Sherlock Holmes’ younger sister so grab your laptops and get ready because the game is on!

After the first movie was viewed very highly, Netflix is back with the sequel: Enola Holmes 2. This one stars Millie Bobby Brown alongside Henry Cavill, David Thewlis, Helena Bonham Carter, Louis Partridge, and Susan Wakoma, and is inspired by the real-life story of the Matchstick Girls. It received even better scores on Rotten Tomatoes with 93% on the Tomatometer. Reviews from newspaper film critics, on the other hand, were mixed, to say the least.

The Evening Standard rated it the highest with 4/5 stars describing it as “more fun tales of feminist derring-do with just the right amount of silly” but also “desperately cringey… [although] the film’s target audience is unlikely to care not a jot”. Leading lady Enola herself (Brown) was described as “effervescent” even though it did seem “as though she’s been plucked directly from 2022 into Victorian Britain”.

The Telegraph was highly critical giving it only 2/5 for “a case of cheap looking action and not enough heart”. Personally, I didn’t love the film either, but I can see why it has potential amongst families, as my younger sister loved it.

I agreed with some of The Guardian‘s points such as how “it too often feels as if the thrill of watching a mystery get solved is deemed too pedestrian or too small and so there’s a patronising tendency to cushion with less involving action scenes, brawn prioritised over brain”. Whilst I like the idea of being well-rounded in terms of intelligence and physical capability, the clues themselves didn’t feel solvable for an audience but the involvement of certain characters was obvious.

Of course, I’m aware that some of these things could be big revelations for children, but it felt as if the movie didn’t manage to pull off being a family movie with teenagers and adults wanting to join in on the fun.

As for Brown’s performance, I’m somewhat conflicted. I adore her in Stranger Things; I believe that she’s set herself up as one of the most influential actresses of our generation and have no doubt that she will go far in her acting career. However, as Enola, Brown seemed somewhat stiff during the scenes where she spoke to the camera. She excelled in the emotional scenes when delivering highly impactful performances, but the moments that were supposed to be witty or earnest felt a bit awkward. The film’s director Harry Bradbeer is “no stranger to a fourth-wall-breaking female protagonist having also directed the majority of Fleabag” and so I’d have to assume that it was Brown’s performance itself that made these moments rather stilted.

Overall, Enola Holmes 2 was a well-thought-out mystery and I liked how they tied it into real historical events. Both Cavill and Thewlis delivered excellent acting performances, and the relationship between Sherlock (Cavill) and Enola was brilliantly produced. It didn’t feel too long, as detective films sometimes can be, and I would happily rewatch it with family when home for the holidays.



Enola Holmes 2 is streaming on Netflix now.

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